Professor Parry Guilford, who tonight received the prestigious Beaven Medal from the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC). Photo: Sharron Bennett.
For Otago's Professor Parry Guilford scientific achievement is more important than the accolades it brings.
Professor Guilford, whose ground-breaking research into stomach cancer has saved many lives worldwide, was tonight presented with the prestigious Beaven Medal from the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) at a special ceremony in Queenstown.
"I'm thrilled," he says. "But not half as thrilled as I'll be on the day when I point to a long-term improvement in the survival statistics for the cancers we work on and can say to my lab 'we did that'," he says.
"I'm thrilled ... But not half as thrilled as I'll be on the day when I point to a long-term improvement in the survival statistics for the cancers we work on and can say to my lab 'we did that'."
The Beaven Medal, named after the late Professor Sir Donald Ward Beaven, KNZM, CBE (1924–2009), recognises excellence in translating research into clinical practice, something Professor Guilford has focussed on during his career.
Professor Guilford is the Director of the University's Centre for Translational Cancer Research, a Principal Investigator in the Biochemistry Department's Cancer Genetics Laboratory and the Chief Scientific Officer of Pacific Edge Biotechnology Ltd.
His research interests include the genetics of inherited cancers, in particular stomach cancer and the application of gene expression profiling to the development of diagnostic and prognostic tools for the better management of cancer.
His work in identifying the mutations in the CDH1 gene that lead to the onset of Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer (HDGC), has benefited hundreds of New Zealanders.
Professor Guilford also played a key role in developing a simple urine bladder cancer test (CxBladder) that is now being commercialised in New Zealand, Australia and the USA.
As co-founder of Pacific Edge Ltd, Professor Guilford pioneered the test's underpinning methodology, which involves using gene expression analysis to quickly and non-invasively detect patients with bladder cancer. Last year Pacific Edge Ltd was awarded the 2013 Supreme Winner of the New Zealand Innovators Awards for developing CxBladder.
Professor Guilford dedicates the Beaven Medal to his colleagues.
"I've been lucky enough to work with a lab of great scientists, young and old, and extremely supportive groups of clinicians and patients. This medal is for them all."